Addicted to the Internet?

Experts may begin classifying Internet addiction as a legitmate medical condition

By Dylan Thomas

E-mail, Facebook, MySpace, gaming, blogging, research, registering for classes, WebCT. Students use the Internet for many reasons. But Internet addiction is a growing problem for many.

Some Flagler students acknowledge that they spend much more time procrastinating on the Internet than they had intended.

“In a lot of ways I treat myself you could say,” said Junior Nikki Leonardo. “When working on a paper, I tell myself that if I finish the paragraph I am working on, then I will ‘let myself’ check my Facebook.”

Recently the Stanford University School of Medicine began a study to determine if obsessive use of the Internet is actually creditable with a medical diagnosis.

They found that one in eight Americans shows at one sign of potential Internet addiction. According to the preliminary study, the typical sufferer is single, white, college-educated male in his 30s.

These men spend approximately 30 hours per week on unnecessary Internet use. But what about the average college student?

“I think the most I have gone without getting on the Internet is a couple of hours,” said sophomore art student Catherine McGlinchy.

When looking at overuse of the Internet as an addiction it is easily compared to that of substance abuse. Substance abuse is a recurring and irresistible drive to perform an act that generates a temporary feeling of pleasure or satisfaction. When comparing this sort of situation to the Internet, it is easily accepted by students that their Internet use could technically be an addiction.

“If I go a day without checking my mail or my Facebook I feel like something is wrong,” McGlinchy said.

If people really can become “addicted” to the Internet, what does that mean for those afflicted with the condition?

“Are they going to come up with a pill?” asked sophomore Katie Brown.

The study indicates that more and more people are going to their doctors with concerns of their affection for the Internet. It is a growing problem according to the Stanford study.

The problems are not only found in the home, but at work as well. A 2002 study surveyed multiple different companies and found that 60 percent of the companies had disciplined workers for unsuitable Internet use. Along with the reprimands, more than 30 percent had terminated employees for their improper use of the Internet.

At least on a college level, most students at Flagler College don’t seem to mind their “Internet addiction.”

“I know I’m addicted but I want to be. I enjoy it!” said senior Delaney Carter.

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